Reactive Abuse — When a Toxic Person Pushes You to the Limit

Reactive Abuse — When a Toxic Person Pushes You to the Limit reactive abuse — when a toxic person pushes you to the limit
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When you’re in an abusive relationship, you will do a lot of unimaginable things to survive. Your buttons will be constantly pressed by the abuser to the point where you find yourself engaging in actions which you feel are out of the ‘normal’. They will press your buttons through insidious manipulative techniques like gaslighting, smear campaign, false accusations and verbal abuse. They will do things that will trigger your greatest fears, traumas and insecurities. You will be constantly pushed to the limit or be cornered till you finally cave in and engage in ‘defensive’ behaviors which you really feel are not in alignment with who you are.

You may find yourself: –

· Calling them names,

· Lashing out angrily

· Breaking a few plates

· Sleeping around as an act of ‘revenge’

· Getting drunk and doing crazy things

· or just anything which you don’t normally do out of the frustration of what you’re being put through by your abusive partner.

You might even use this as a justification that you’re both abusive and so you deserve to be together in that relationship. To make things worse, your abusive partner will echo and amplify your undesirable behavior and you will never hear the end of it. They may use those few instances as a smear campaign tool which even hurts you further. You will even forget that you just reacted and engaged in some undesirable behavior only a few times while your partner has been doing it for 24 hours and 365 days in a year. So, your self-defense against the abuser is now making you look like the abusive one and you even think that you’re the abusive partner. You will have the most common thought, “What if, I am the narcissist?” That’s what reactive abuse is all about when you’re in a toxic relationship.

What is Reactive Abuse?

Reactive abuse is where you find yourself engaging in some atrocious behavior and actions as a result of being cornered or pushed to the limit by an abusive person. In short, you engage in some sort of ‘abusive’ behavior just to keep yourself safe from the abuse or as a defense mechanism from what you’re being put through by the manipulator. If you find the word ‘reactive abuse’ triggering or not feeling well with you, you can call it “reactive response.” It’s more of your buttons being ‘violently’ pressed then you react (emotionally or physically) to the situation. Reactive abuse is a very dangerous place to be in an abuse relationship especially when you’re not aware of it. This is because it can be used against you by the manipulator as they seek to manipulate you further or even in a court of law when they want to alienate you from your kids or win child custody.

It’s actually how they manage to ‘convince’ (in a manipulative way) you that you’re the crazy one or you’re unstable because of what you did. This statement will sound so true to you because they will have clear evidence of what you did and you also remember those instances you acted undesirably. When you’re traumatized your logic has been erode to the point where you will not even pause and challenge those sentiments with a simple question like, “Wait a minute, I broke those plates because you’ve been cheating on me with countless partners…” You forget the why and instead focus on the allegations made by the abuser. That’s why, it can be a tricky spot to be in as it further renders you hopeless, powerless and helpless.

Does Reactive Abuse make you Abusive?

Reactive abuse will make you will think and feel that you’re mutually abusive. To ease these thoughts, pause and look at the frequency of those ‘abusive’ instances. You will realize that the ratio of your undesirable ways to those of the abuser is something close to 1: 1000. You can take it a step further and just write down those thoughts that make you think you’re the narcissist and compare with the undesirable behaviors your partner is engaging on.

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The other thing that differentiates you from the abuser is guilty conscience. You feel guilty because you engaged in some undesirable behavior which means you still have that spark of goodness deep within you. This shows that you’re true to yourself and you acknowledge your wrongdoings and it will be a great instigator of change once you start healing. On the other hand, an abusive person will hardly feel guilty about what they’re doing to you because their worldly perspective is just so distorted.

So, how do you Handle Reactive Abuse?

When you’re in an abusive relationship or you’re dealing with an abusive person, it may be inevitable to engage in some form of reactive abuse. So, to mitigate this, the first thing you can do is to just be aware that you’re engaging in those undesirable behaviors because you’re being pushed to the limit by someone who really knows which buttons to press. This will at least lower the instances of you beating yourself up or just shaming yourself when all you’re doing is just trying your best. Do not internalize your reactions and the hurts as part of your identity, just be mindful that you’re doing it for survival’s sake.

The other practical thing you can do is when you’re really pushed to the corner, do not show your reactions in front of them, try to be calm and temporarily bottle those frustrations as much as possible. Then once you’re away from them, you can now find a way to channel out that negative energy when they cannot see. If they can’t see it, they can’t use it against you (even in a court of law). This can be something like, writing their name in a pillow (my favorite) and punching or stabbing the ‘hell’ out of it (with passion and in a way that you really release those frustrations). It’s just about releasing the frustrations instead of carrying them with you.

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Do not bottle those frustrations and act like you don’t feel it as this will make you numb in the longer-term. When you don’t react when they want you to, you will be starving them of their supply. It’s not easy but you’ve got to give your all. You’re doing it for you, the you who still sees the spark of goodness deep within.

Being in an abusive relationship is not the best place to be and that’s why you’ve got to work day and night to really get away from it as much possible. Your mind will lie to you that you need to stick to the relationship because you’re also ‘abusive.’ Do not listen to it but instead focus on how you can do inner healing to really get in touch with the you where your guilty conscience is coming from. You heal so that you can form a healthy relationship with yourself.

Once you heal, you will have a clear understanding of why you did those things in the relationship. It will also be a great opportunity for you to address those buttons that toxic people like pressing when they want to manipulate you. One last thing is, be wary of the trap of normalizing reactive abuse because if it becomes a habit you will lose your conscience. So, just understand and be aware of it but differentiate it from who you’re at the core of your being. See it as a temporary survival mechanism and not where you deserve to be as you strive to reconnect with your authentic self.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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